Tuesday, April 08, 2008

More trouble at FGCU

Yesterday, Florida Gulf Coast University reportedly suspended Dave Deiros, head softball coach, after a player charged him with assaulting her at Saturday's practice. The player, catcher Roz Tyre, filed a complaint with the campus police claiming that Deiros twice grabbed her chest protector and shook her. Tyre did not talk to the press, but according to her complaint, a verbal dispute began when she asked for permission to sit out a throwing drill due to injury:
I proceeded to go over and talk to him, where he approached me and grabbed me with both hands in a tight grip by my chest protector, in line with the sides of my breasts....I told him to let go of me now, and pushed his shoulders in my defense....He came back and grabbed me in the same manner a second time. I again told him to let go of me and to get his hands off me....I no longer felt it was a situation of coach to athlete, but man to woman.
Deiros's suspension is just the latest chapter in FGCU athletic department's ongoing sex discrimination saga. Last summer, former AD Merrily Dean Baker accused the athletic department of violating Title IX by, among other things, supporting a hostile, intimidating atmosphere for female coaches. Then, last fall, FGCU suspended and then fired then-assistant coach Gina Ramacci after investigating (but failing to corroborate) charges that she had an an inappropriate relationship with a player. Ramacci is challenging her termination as discriminatory on the basis of her perceived sexual orientation. FGCU also suspended, and later terminated former head volleyball coach Jaye Flood, who has been accused of having a relationship with a student, as well as tugging on a player's shirt during a game. But she claims that the investigation and subsequent termination was really retaliation for supporting Dean Baker's report. Another former coach, Holly Vaughn, also received negative performance evaluations after supporting those charges, and since resigned. If there is, as Dean Baker says, a hostile, intimidating environment for coaches in the athletic department, perhaps this provides some context for the hostile, intimidating environment for female athletes as well.